A screening and Q&A with filmmaker Daniel Tucker of "Local Control: Karl Hess in the World of Ideas" (2018. 60 minutes)
Local Control is an experimental documentary about the political spectrum.
It has been said repeatedly that “All Politics Are Local” but what does the impulse towards controlling your own life at the local level mean to people as diverse as Jeffersonian Yeoman, Climate Change activists, Fair food advocates, Transgender anarchists and Republican speechwriters? Is local on the scale of the body, the neighborhood, or the nation?
Local Control uses the story of writer Karl Hess to propose a field of interaction between Ayn Rand, Emma Goldman, Rush Limbaugh, Abby Hoffman, Studs Terkel, Benito Mussolini, Ken Kesey, Robert Heinlein, Bob Dylan and The Black Panther Party. A former corporate consultant and speechwriter for Barry Goldwater, Karl Hess later joined the ranks of Students for a Democratic Society. He wrote speeches for New Left groups of the 1960s before beginning to advocate for urban agriculture and community technology, and later becoming a founding figure amongst Libertarians and survivalists. Throughout it all he promoted ideas of self-sufficiency and localism.
Traveling from Washington DC to Los Angeles and across over 50 years, this video essay introduces Hess’ family and interviews with political authors Cindy Milstein, Charles Murray, Raj Patel and Rick Perlstein, and is also interspersed with clips from mainstream news outlets, online personalities and Hess devotees.
In a time where our map of ideas has been turned on its head, this mediation on individualism and collectivism considers conventional categories of Right and Left while introducing surprising new ones to help us to consider where we are now.
Daniel Tucker works as an artist, writer and organizer developing documentaries, publications, exhibitions and events inspired by his interest in social movements and the people and places from which they emerge. His writings and lectures on the intersections of art and politics and his collaborative art projects have been published and presented widely and are documented on the archive miscprojects.com.
Working across diverse media, recurring forms have included mapping, printedmatter, video and interviewing. Between 2005-2010 he founded and edited the publication AREA Chicago and from 2010-2015 he collaborated with Rebecca Zorach on the archiving and curatorial project Never The Same. In 2015 Tucker completed the feature-length video essay Future Perfect: Time Capsules in Reagan Country and has recently completed a followup video Local Control: Karl Hess in the World of Ideas (2018). Both works are concerned with developing a critical understanding of the right-wing imagination and are followed up by a new project, Little Wars, which is currently in development with collaborator Rosten Woo. See politicalspectrum.info for a portfolio of these recent studio projects.
He has an active public-program and exhibition curating practice, and has organized exhibitions, publications and events for national organizations such as Creative Time, Alliance of Media Arts and Culture, Common Field and numerous community and university art centers, galleries and museums. In 2016 he curated the exhibition and event series Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements which is presently on a national tour of 9 cities until fall of 2019. He is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership program, earned his MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently an Assistant Professor and founding Graduate Program Director in Socially-Engaged Art at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia where he lives with his wife Emily Bunker.